Perhaps never in the history of America’s presidential contests has a candidate been elected not for who he was, but for who he wasn’t. That is exactly what happened with Joe Biden’s path to securing the Democratic nomination and subsequent election as President. The left of the Democrat party has hated Donald Trump with a passion from the moment he descended down the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his candidacy. They still do. So do most of the mainstream media. Joe Biden secured the Democrat nomination not because of possessing great skills as a campaigner or for building a stellar record in some 50 years in political office. In fact, he was one of the least skilled candidates among the Democrat field with a record that is far from stellar. He won because party leaders came to believe that he was best positioned to beat Donald Trump in the general election. Let’s quickly review:
In the nation’s first presidential nominating contest, the Iowa caucuses, Joe Biden finished a distant fourth. Next came the first in the nation primary election in New Hampshire where Biden finished even worse; in fifth place. Then there were caucuses in Nevada where Biden was trounced again. Finally came a state that Biden won, South Carolina, thanks to the preponderance of black voters, their fondness of him for his support of Barack Obama, his many years spent visiting the state, and the endorsement of the state’s senior Democrat statesman, Congressman Jim Clyburn. His success in attracting support from black voters caused party leaders to coalesce around Biden, and most of his main challengers began to drop out and endorse him.
As party leaders worked overtime to enforce their decision to nominate Biden as the most likely candidate to defeat Donald Trump, he eventually cruised to the nomination. However, it wasn’t on the strength of his political skills. Biden’s primary debate performances were weak, his fundraising was lackluster, and his speaking skills atrocious; a one-man gaffe machine. This was the situation as these same party leaders devised a general election strategy tailored to the pandemic and the need to shelter Biden from unforced errors. Former President Barack Obama is said to have once remarked, “never underestimate the ability of Joe to f#%& things up.”
Confident that the media’s hatred for Donald Trump would result in them protecting Biden, party leaders schemed to hide Biden in the basement of his home throughout the fall campaign. From the basement, Biden’s poor campaign skills could be kept in check. His schedule could be meticulously managed to carefully scripted virtual events with friendly audiences where he could escape tough questions, play identity politics, and take advantage of his single greatest asset – not being Donald Trump. Say what you will about this type of approach to seeking the most important elected office in the world, but it worked.
Now that Biden is president however, the situation is both the same and also vastly different. What is the same is that Joe Biden’s skills as a campaigner remains awful. His gaffe-o-rama has shifted into an even higher gear, causing some observers to openly discuss his cognitive capacity. What’s the same is the media’s careful shielding of Biden, allowing him to avoid virtually all questions from reporters. He has not held a single news conference since being inaugurated and has now gone longer without a news conference than any president in the past 100 years. What’s the same is that Biden continues to play identity politics, carefully checking off racial and gender boxes while naming his cabinet. Biden could not even pronounce the name of one of his picks, Xavier Becerra, who was nominated to head the Health and Human Services Agency despite zero health experience. But Becerra is of Mexican descent, so that was enough. And what’s the same is to publicly call for national unity while at the same time pursuing a hard-left, divisive, polarizing, and partisan agenda.
What is vastly different now is much more important than what is the same. What’s different is that Donald Trump is gone. And boy does Joe Biden miss Donald Trump.
That much was on full display last week when Biden gave his first-ever speech to the nation from the White House. Focused on the nation’s recovery from the pandemic, Biden essentially blamed Trump for the troubles we face – not China, which gave us the virus. Biden opened his talk with this: “A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked, denials for days, weeks, then months. That led to more deaths, more infections, more stress and more loneliness.” Without mentioning Mr. Trump by name, Biden nonetheless made clear that it was Trump’s fault that hundreds of thousands of people have died from the pandemic. Biden then went on to tell the nation that because of him, “we’re making some real progress now…Two months ago, the country – this country – didn’t have nearly enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all or anywhere near all of the American people. But soon we will… Because of all the work we’ve done, we’ll have enough vaccine supply for all adults in America by the end of May. That’s months ahead of schedule.”
What Biden didn’t say is that America would have no vaccine supply at all but for Donald Trump and the “Operation Warp Speed” that he mobilized. The Biden sycophants, especially the talking heads and media commentators, guffawed at Trump’s insistence last year that America would deliver vaccines by the end of 2020. But Trump did deliver. And Biden wants that credit; but it’s not his. He couldn’t even bring himself to thank President Trump or the prior administration for their accomplishments in creating the vaccines and ordering the manufacture of millions of doses before they were fully tested and approved so they could be rolled out at the earliest possible moment if proven safe and effective.
Joe Biden is trapped. He can’t say anything that is complimentary of Trump because Biden’s very existence in office is due to not being Donald Trump. But with every passing day, Joe Biden finds it increasingly difficult to govern by not being Donald Trump. He has to govern by being Joe Biden. He has to answer questions. He has to hold news conferences. He has to deal with problems as they mount – whether they be migrants storming the border, hostilities from enemies like Iran, continued joblessness, kids kept out of school even though science makes it clear that they should be back, etc.
It turns out that Joe Biden is no better at governing than he was at campaigning. That much is already crystal clear to millions of Americans. As the chaos of the Trump years is replaced by the incompetence and unpreparedness of the Biden presidency, it will become clear to everyone else as the weeks and months unfold that Joe Biden is just not up to the job. Not being Donald Trump is no longer enough. Biden has lost his political identity, his raison d’etre, and the very purpose of him being in the White House to begin with.
One has to wonder how long he will be.